Doorstop Interview - Port Adelaide - 11 June 2016




SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: Thanks very much for being here. It’s fantastic to be at this campaign rally in the seat of Port Adelaide, with the local member Mark Butler and my frontbench colleague Kate Ellis, the MP for Adelaide, here with Labor people to talk about the importance of delivering a Labor Government. And what we’ve been talking about, we’ve heard from people on the ground, is how important it is for there to be a Shorten Labor Government to deliver the full Gonski funding, so that every child in every school can be the best of who they are, because we understand how important education is for our economy and for opportunity in this country. We’re talking about how important it is to deliver a Shorten Labor Government to protect Medicare, because Labor built Medicare and only Labor will protect it. Now I know there are a lot of candidates in this campai gn who are seeking the attention of the South Australian people. And what I’d say to them is this: this election is not about who can get the most attention. This election is about what sort of country we want. It’s about what sort of country you want. So if you don’t like what the Liberals are doing on Medicare, vote Labor. If you don’t like what the Liberals are doing when it comes to health and education, vote Labor. And if you don’t like what the Liberals are doing to our schools, vote Labor. Because at this election, what is important are the issues and the issues are protecting Medicare and funding South Australian schools properly.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

WONG: Well, I can say this to you, that as we campaign around the country and around the state, the issues Labor is talking about are the issues people care about. People want Medicare protected, people want their local schools funded properly, people want education for their kids and their grandkids and they don’t want $100,000 degrees. So if you care about those things, that’s what Labor is talking about and that’s what Labor will ensure is changed if we are given government on July 2.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

MARK BUTLER, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE ENVIRONMENT: I would reiterate what Penny said as we work through this campaign with three weeks to go, time and time again, the people of Port Adelaide are talking to me about the schools system. About ensuring that their kids and grandkids have the best opportunity at every single one of the 50 or so schools in the electorate of Port Adelaide. They talk to me about Medicare. They want to make sure that they don’t have to pay a co-payment when they’re ill or when their parents are ill. So at the end of the day this election will be decided on issues and ideas and vision for the country, and that’s why Bill Shorten is doing so well, and building such momentum as we get closer to July 2.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)… what if the X Factor comes second and Liberal preferences go their way, are you concerned about your own seat?

BUTLER: We’re fighting for first preference votes. Bill Shorten has made that clear across Australia. Whatever the media interest in third parties in South Australia or in other states, Labor is focussed on getting first preference votes and forming a majority Government. We won’t lose that focus one bit between now and July 2.

JOURNALIST: When it comes to Medicare, is that fully funded?

KATE ELLIS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD: Absolutely. We’ve been really proud of the hard work that we’ve done in opposition identifying some tough decisions and some savings measures, so that we can make sure that we can invest in the priority areas for Labor and for Australia. We know that in order to properly fund our schools, in order to protect Medicare, and in order to go about important budget repair, we’ve had to make some tough decisions, but we’ve been up to that task.

JOURNALIST: How do you feel about your safe Labor seat with three weeks to go, do you think your message is getting across to the people in the electorate?

ELLIS: Well, I never, ever, take the seat of Adelaide for granted. I know that every election is a tough election and I don’t expect this one to be any different. There is an important issue for the voters of Adelaide though, they need to realise that unlike previous elections where people might like to lodge a protest vote, they think that they can give Labor their second preference vote. A protest vote in the seat of Adelaide will increase the chances of David Colovic being elected as the local member. I don’t think anyone would argue that David Colovic as the Member for Adelaide is in the best interests of South Australia or in the best interests of Australia, but that is an increased risk if people do not use their first preference vote carefully.

JOURNALIST: Are you worried about the X Factor in your seat as well?

ELLIS: It means that every seat in South Australia could have a higher chance of unexpected results. We know that this is an usual set of circumstances and it means that every vote in every seat is going to be critically important to make sure that we get the best outcomes for our local communities as well as Australia.

JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

ELLIS: We have a positive plan for Australia’s future. We have out there over 100 positive policies. We have been out each and every day talking to the Australian community about these policies. We know that Malcolm Turnbull’s only plan, only priority, is to stand up for the big end of town at the expense of everybody in our local communities and we know that the Australian public is starting to catch on to Mr Turnbull.